EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield will travel with the team for Thursday’s game against the Washington Capitals, head coach Lambert disclosed on Thursday, though his playing status is still uncertain.
“We’ll see tomorrow,” Lambert said. “He had a good practice today so we’ll see how he feels.”
Mayfield has missed each of the Islanders’ last seven games after suffering a lower-body injury in the season opener against the Buffalo Sabres in which he took a Rasmus Dahlin shot late in the game to the left ankle. He skated with the team during their morning practice sessions for three straight days.
“I think there’s been progress now that he’s skating with the group and skating with the team,” Lambert said. “It’s certainly come on in the last week. “
Samuel Bolduc has slotted in for Mayfield in the Islanders’ lineup over the last seven games, but he and his blue-line partner Sebastian Aho have not played much. Bolduc has averaged just 8:25 of ice time per game. It’s forced the top four defensemen in Adam Pelech, Noah Dobson, Ryan Pulock, and Alexander Romanov to pick up more time. Dobson, most notably, ranks seventh in the NHL in average ice time this season as he’s filled in for Mayfield on the penalty kill.
The Islanders penalty kill has sagged without Mayfield, ranking 15th in the league at 79.31%.